Pretty sure that everyone in Austin is just out to kick a whole lot of ass this year; it seems we’ve got one great release after another, and you can add Suspirians to that list. Stuttering guitars ring loudly from the get go, as drums pound and the song takes off; it spins in a heavy space direction before the vocals begin to spin around in the mix. The group plays around with some noise, and even the volume levels, always returning to full force. It’s a trashing take-no-prisoners jam, leading one to expect that Ti Bon Ange is going to be yet another top notch hit for the local scene here; it hits in June via Super Secret Records.
Wild Nothing, or the project of Jack Tatum, is a genre band. What I mean to say is that each of his studio albums explores a different sub genre of indie rock. Gemini saw Tatum trying his hand at jangly guitars and bedroom synths, Nocturne was a 70s disco piece with plenty to dance to. His latest effort, Life of Pause, which came out earlier this year, was a wall-of-sound piece that combined the past genres into a more straightforward rock sound. Going into Monday night, I was interested in seeing how the band would weave these sounds into a their live setting, and I was far from disappointed. Read on after the jump.
Today officially marks the beginning of the 2nd weekend at ACL festival here in Austin. I’m sure many of you rocked out last weekend and will be nursing your wounds this weekend at home. For those of you heading out to Zilker, good luck in the rain! For those of you staying indoors, check out this fancy interview we put together this week with Jack Tatum of Wild Nothing. It’s pretty rad. Click read more for interview.
|Date||Wednesday, August 29th|
|Tickets||$10 from Transmission|
I’m sure you’re probably tired of us always raving about Wild Nothing, but I promise you this is a show you need to be at. I was skeptical at first, knowing the group was mostly a bedroom project, but Jack and his buds totally killed it that night, making me a life-long fan for sure. I know all of us at ATH couldn’t do anything but rave about it for a good solid month. Plus, two great ATX bands will help get you in the mood: Boy Friend and Super Lite Bike. Please get there early to support all the bands…it’s always appreciated.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Nowhere.mp3]
Download:Wild Nothing – Nowhere [MP3]
Perhaps one of the greatest things about listening to Wild Nothing is being aware that the project began as an intimate bedroom affair, possibly not even meant for mass consumption. But, as with all good things, it’s made its way to our ears, and with Nocturne the sounds have become more fleshed out, creating a more dynamic sound that bodes well for Jack and friends.
With a title like Nocturne, you immediately get a darker image than what you might have gotten from the early works such as Gemini. “Shadow” works with that meaning, both in title and in its emotional pull. Sure, there’s still a bit of an angular guitar chiming in, but the lush string arrangements bring out an undercurrent of heavier sentiment. Similarly, the title of “Midnight Song” implies the exact sentiment, but there’s something more energetic lurking here. I’m not sure if it’s the guitar sounds, or Jack’s vocals, but I feel as if there’s more emphasis in this tune; it’s a personal standout for me.
But, one of the things I like from this new recording by Wild Nothing is the smallest of tweaks that demonstrate a branching out of sorts for the group. If you skip through the album to “Paradise” you’re going to find an entirely different guitar line than what you’re used to from the band. It’s almost as if Jack switched up his homage to C86 bands, trading it in for some Northern Soul guitar licks. That being said, the electronic wash present on the track, and the deeper vocal tones still tie it nicely into the thematic darkness of the entire album. It’s a good song to contrast with earlier numbers like “Only Heather,” which gains its energy from the frenetic pace of the drumming here. I can see how the vocals have a similar weight to them, but the guitars are much brighter, and your toes won’t be able to avoid a bit of tapping as you listen to the record at your desk.
Personally, I think there’s sort of a magical quality to Nocturne, and I don’t mean in the sense that it’s going to possess your soul, though it just might. Lyrically and emotionally it seems to carry with it an other-worldly quality that combines bits and pieces of the group’s earlier works with touchstones of its contemporaries. Yet, with all those bits and pieces, something inevitably captures you, pushing your thoughts beyond the mundane. Perhaps wistful is a fitting term to use here, as the title and the mood are affected by a feeling of sadness; I honestly don’t know how to put my finger on it, but I think listeners will completely understand the sentiment after a few runs through.
For those that expected Nocturne to be a complete return to where Wild Nothing left off with Gemini, you might be disappointed. It’s definitely an album consumed by the nature of the title, offering a fair balance between beauty and the vague hints of darkness. Light splashes of energy come and go, but what you’re left with is a record that immediately transports you beyond your status quo; such is the quality of truly great music that can consume us wholly, yet still maintain its intimate qualities.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/08-Paradise.mp3]
Download:Wild Nothing – Paradise [MP3]